On Thursday, just two days after condemning President Donald Trump for doing the same thing, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden traveled to Kenosha, Wisconsin, which saw anti-police protests and destructive riots in the wake of a police-involved shooting.
The Biden camp likely intended the visit as a one-up over the Trump campaign. But according to the Washington Examiner, some Kenosha residents took Biden’s visit as a “publicity stunt.”
When President Trump visited Kenosha on Tuesday, he was greeted by large crowds of supporters everywhere he went as he surveyed the damage caused to local businesses by the riots. The president promised millions of dollars in economic assistance for beleaguered business owners and law enforcement during roundtable discussions with members of both the business community as well as local law enforcement officials.
During Biden’s Thursday visit, the former vice president did not “visit the riot-stricken areas or burned out businesses,” the New York Post reported. He did meet with family members of Jacob Blake, who was left paralyzed after being shot in the back, and met with community activists at a church, where, according to the Examiner, a few dozen supporters turned out to see him.
Locals weigh in
“It was all mom and pop stores that got destroyed down here. It’s really sad. It’s heartbreaking. We’re trying to find justice, and we all know that the people here are on the right side of the issue,” a bartender named Jack Jay told the Examiner.
Jay, who had supported Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the Democratic primary, added of the dueling visits to his city, “And then to have Trump come in here and be like, ‘OK, I’m here. You can all thank me,’ is one thing. But Biden is just a joke to me. What are you going to do for us?”
Jay’s feelings about Biden’s visit appeared to be shared by restaurant employee Jack Chelski, who told the Examiner, “It just seems like a publicity stunt. You know, I voted for Obama, but what Biden’s doing just seems to be what the Democratic Party is all about nowadays.”
“Just because you’re not Trump doesn’t mean you can just blame everything on him,” Chelski added. “You know, this restaurant donated a bunch of stuff to the protesters. We’re all on the same side. You can get mad at Trump for coming here, but at least he promised money. I wanna see that money, but still.”
Another aspect of Biden’s visit that appeared to rub some Kenosha voters the wrong way was his focus on the racial component of the unrest in his comments.
“I’m definitely more liberal. But it seemed like Biden pulled the race card a little bit during his speech,” Cindy Evers, a woman who watched Biden’s remarks on TV at a nearby diner, told the Examiner. “That was really too bad. I was excited to see him speak, but I think other stuff he said was good. We’re all just trying to get back to normal here, and I want to know what Biden is going to do about that.”
Two different ways
Both the Trump and Biden camps described their respective visits to Kenosha as efforts to help the city recover following the several days of deadly and destructive unrest.
Trump has focused on supporting law enforcement, restoring law and order, and making the business community whole again, while Biden has sided with the anti-police protesters and stoked the smoldering embers of racial division. You can decide which track will be more likely to heal and unite Kenosha.